The Federal Government has announced a number of changes to the NDIS to assist participants and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check their official page for regular updates.
Alternatives to face-to-face planning meetings are currently in place, with participants able to request a telephone, email or webchat meeting. If you or the person you care for wants a friend, family member or someone to help them with the meeting, they can let the NDIA know when they call. When the person assisting in the planning meeting is in a different location in Australia, the NDIA needs to be informed of their contact details so they can dial them in separately.
NDIS plans can be extended up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support. If the person you care for has a plan review scheduled, the NDIA will still contact them to discuss plan amendments. However, if they are happy with the current plan, a planning meeting will not be necessary. The extended plan will have the same core and capacity building budget funding (excluding capital) that is in their current plan added to the extended plan
The NDIS has also temporarily broadened the flexible approach to low cost Assistive Technology items, including smart devices, to enable continued access to disability supports through telehealth and telepractice.
However, as restrictions are eased around the country, the NDIS has rolled back a number of emergency measures in order to return to normal service delivery. The following changes occurred on 1 July 2020:
- Removal of temporary 10 per cent loading on certain core and capacity building supports.
- Definition of cancellation period is reduced from 10 days to levels under the previous policy.
- Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) will be returned to the original policy of 90 days (rolled back from 180 days).
It is important to note the Government will continue to monitor conditions in the sector and make adjustments that may be required.
Information about the changes to how the NDIS works during the COVID-19 pandemic is available in 12 languages. They have also produced a series of animation and Auslan videos to explain some of the changes.
If you do need additional assistance, or NDIS plan funds are low, you can also call 1800 800 110. The NDIA Contact Centre has special teams of planners available to discuss your situation and undertake a plan review if needed.
PPE update for NDIS participants in NSW and VIC
Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, has announced temporary changes to funding arrangements to allow NDIS participants in Victoria and New South Wales to claim the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks.
From Wednesday 29 July 2020, NDIS participants who rely on face-to-face supports and assistance with their daily living will be able to use an existing support item (Low Cost Disability-Related Health Consumables) to claim on the cost of PPE for the times their worker is with them.
Providers will also be able to claim the costs of PPE to allow workers to continue delivering essential disability supports to NDIS participants.